In Israel's day God gave explicit instruction as to the care of His sanctuary, and later of the temple, not only concerning the outward appearance, but each piece of furniture was to be used only for that to which it had been dedicated. Should we not be as careful now with God's house of worship and furniture? The desk from which the divine word is now preached may well be likened to the ancient altar. All eyes are turned to it while the heart is lifted to God. The minister, or elder, is seated directly behind it. But what is he all too frequently compelled to view, when his mind should be entirely on his message and the needs of the people?
When the congregation is worshiping toward the altar, everything may look orderly. But from behind the desk what may sometimes be seen?—Soiled handkerchiefs, hammer, nails, tacks, chalk, eraser, soiled rag or janitor's duster, fans, keys, lost articles (watches, pins, brooches, pocketbooks, pens, pencils, toys, etc.), Sabbath school supplies, record books, flags, charts, Harvest Ingathering supplies, electric light supplies, wire, fruit jars, flower vases, etc. These are some of the things that the one ministering sometimes beholds, while waiting for the moment to begin preaching. Not infrequently these disorderly items tumble under the feet of the speaker.
The altar of the Lord is not to be a "catch all." It may well be considered the most sacred piece of furniture ha the house of God. Would not Christ, if on earth today, say, "Take these things hence"? Let us as workers see that the janitor is held responsible for keeping the altar clean and garnished, as the heart of the worshiper should be. If anything is placed on the shelf in the desk, let it be the Bible only, or such other books as the minister -will need for the service. Each church should provide a suitable place, or chest, to keep the articles not pertaining to the altar, and the janitor should have the co-operation of all to see that the desk is empty and tidy.
Let us do all in our power to see that these earthly altars have the proper connection with the one in heaven, where the angel has incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which is before the throne.
Berrien Springs, Mich.